CLEMSON, S.C. (WSPA) – Clemson Police Department Captain Nate Heard knows the territory.
He was born in Anderson and moved to Clemson as a teenager, where he played football on two Daniel High School state championship teams.
Heard eventually made his way to law enforcement and after starting with CPD, job number one was patrolling near the Clemson University campus.
“I started downtown working at the bars, it’s something we all have to experience,” Sgt. Heard said. “You meet a lot of people, good and bad, and you have to navigate the people you deal with, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I’ve met some great people.”
Now with 24 years on the job, and three promotions later, Heard is the lead CPD crisis negotiator.
He was one of three officers in that role when he began 12 years ago. Now, he’s the senior officer among four crisis negotiators.
The job isn’t what you may think it is.
“Being a crisis negotiator is all about listening. It’s about listening and trying to understand. It’s not about trying to talk and continue to talk,” according to Heard.
In all those years as a crisis negotiator, there’s one statistic you may not believe. “We’ve never had an incident where we had to kick a door in,” he tells 7NEWS.
“Most people think that being a crisis negotiator you just want to get the job done and kick in the door and rescue someone, but actually there’s a lot more to it,” according to Heard.
“It’s more listening, why is that person in crisis that day”